The Hanoitimes - Making a pilgrimage to a place where people have fought and died to protect their country’s independence and freedom is an extraordinary experience.
Vietnam has been named among the five great battle sites in the world that you should visit at least once in your lifetime, according to a list released by The New Daily, an online, non-paywalled, Australian newspaper established in 2013.
“The families of veterans are starting to make the pilgrimage to Vietnam, even though, often, the veterans themselves never wanted to return,” The New Daily wrote.
Vietnam among world’s great battle sites.
“They feel they owe it to the veterans to learn more about what they went through, especially because of the way the veterans were treated when they got home,” says McLachlan, whose company runs battlefield history tours.
The New Daily advises travelers that Vietnam’s war legacy is spread across the country, with much of it near Ho Chi Minh City in the south, where the famous Cu Chi tunnels can be visited. Vietnam’s appeal is enhanced by its welcoming people, beautiful hotels, resorts, colonial architecture and distinctive food.
The Western Front, France and Belgium tops the list, followed by Vietnam, Gallipoli (Turkey), Kokoda (Papua New Guinea), Australia.
Earlier, South China Morning Post (SCMP), a Hong Kong-based English-language newspaper, has named Cu Chi Tunnel in Vietnam the number one destination among the best tunnels in the world.
The tunnels of Cu Chi, 25km (16 miles) northwest of Ho Chi Minh City, were excavated in the late 1940s by the Viet Minh, during the first Indochina war, against the French. The district became a stronghold of the country's liberating forces during the Vietnam War, and the network of narrow passageways was extended and deepened to improve the chances for those inside of surviving aerial bombardment and search and destroy missions conducted by American forces.
The guerillas spent the daylight hours holed up in their carefully concealed lairs, emerging after dark to conduct military operations or scavenge for food. The underground maze connected villages and incorporated workshops, meeting rooms and clinics as well as sleeping and eating quarters. Conditions in the airless shafts were tough – besides living with the constant fear of being flushed out by the enemy, infections and disease were rife.
The tunnels have since been enlarged to accommodate generously proportioned foreign tourists, who must crawl through the enclosed space on hands and knees. South China Morning Post warned that Cu Chi Tunnel definitely are not for claustrophobia sufferers or anyone in white clothing.